2024 KJLH Women's Health Expo

We have some exciting news! AAIMM is a proud sponsor of this year's KJLH Women's Health Expo. Get more details about the Expo, our booth, and giveaways. You'll also see some highlights from BMHW, so keep reading for more! 

As always, thank YOU for being an outstanding member of our AAIMM village.
We're stronger together

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April 2024

In this month's newsletter, we celebrate the seventh annual Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW)
and share upcoming events and opportunities. Keep reading for more! 

Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) is here! AAIMM is excited to join our community partners in proudly celebrating this year's theme: 
"Our Bodies STILL Belong to Us: Reproductive Justice NOW!" for the seventh annual BMHW celebration from April 11-17.

 

Founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), BMHW is a week of awareness, activism, and community building. 
The week kicks off on April 11, which is globally recognized as International Day for Maternal Health and Rights – an opportunity to join the worldwide community advocating for the elimination of maternal mortality. 

 

This year’s AAIMM activities for Black Maternal Health Week are very diverse—ranging from birthing tours, documentary screenings, educational sessions with doulas, and much more. They all amplify the voices of Black mamas and birthing persons and center the values and history of the reproductive and birth justice movements.

 

Please visit our BMHW 2024 page for updated event listings and other information, and feel free to share the link with your village. Help us make BMHW one of the most talked about activities in L.A. County. Follow @blackinfantsandfamiliesla on Instagram for updates and use #BMHW24 and #BlackMaternalHealthWeek to help spread awareness.

 

Calendar of Events

 

Official Proclamation by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell

 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared birthing justice and equity once again passed a motion recognizing April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week and officially declared April 16 as the Day of the Black Infant.  

 

 "Black Maternal Health Week” (April 11-17), was established by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance in 2018 to bring local attention to the national maternal health care crisis in the Black community, and to promote education and advocacy around the experiences of Black mothers/birthing persons. This week in April is celebrated by centering Black mothers/birthing persons, families, and the systems of care working on their behalf toward joyous and healthy pregnancies and births. The theme for this year’s Black Maternal Health Week is “Our Bodies Still Belong to Us: Reproductive Justice Now!” 

 

Recommendation as submitted by Supervisor Mitchell: 
Proclaim the week of April 11 through 17, 2024, as “Black Maternal Health Week,” and April 16, 2024 as “The Day of the Black Infant” throughout the County; instruct the Director of Public Health to report back to the Board in writing within 60 days with plans to activate internal and community stakeholders to implement interventions and support current programs and services known to reduce racial disparities in perinatal outcomes, such as Community Action Teams, Doula Program expansion, Fatherhood Engagement, Guaranteed Income pilot, and promotion of other financial relief, the report back should also include plans to expand and outreach these resources to residents in need and how data collection can  
improve outreach and engagement throughout the County; instruct all County Departments to stand in solidarity with the County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Initiative and its Community Partners in eliminating racism and bias in health care and related services and resources; encourage residents to learn about available services and resources, as well as ways to get involved by visiting AAIMM’s website at blackinfantsandfamiliesla.org or social media at @blackinfantsandfamiliesla and  
www.facebook.com/blackinfantsandfamilies; and encourage residents to participate in upcoming events occurring in the Second District during Black  
Maternal Health Week, including a community baby shower, doula meet-and-greets, and a Black Mamas Tour, residents can learn more at www.blackinfantsandfamiliesla.org

 

 

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February 2024

Happy Black History Month from the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative (AAIMM)!

Black History Month allows us to reflect on our collective history and recognize achievements and contributions made by our ancestors. This month is also an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work that continues today and will be built upon in the future. Our AAIMM programs are extensions of long-held traditions that we celebrate as part of Black history, as shared experiences within the African diaspora.


THE IMPORTANCE OF BLACK BIRTH WORKERS

 

Doulas (also known as birth workers) have long been recognized as experienced and compassionate birthing companions by the families they serve, but were dismissed by the western medical system. Only in the past couple of decades have doulas been recognized anew as professionals, rooted in community. In their role, doulas provide emotional support, guidance, and comfort to families throughout the pregnancy experience, regardless of outcomes. Along with assisting during the birthing process, doulas contribute to parents’ holistic well-being by imparting valuable and culturally competent knowledge on prenatal care, nutrition, interventions, and coping strategies. Doulas provide a safe space during one of the most intimate and vulnerable moments in a birthing person’s life, where they can share their fears, hopes and joy. 

As advocates for informed decision making, doulas are an added support and protection for Black pregnant persons within the birthing care team for expectant families. The presence of birth workers fosters a sense of empowerment and strengthens the communal fabric, as the wisdom passed down between generations forms a vital part of cultural continuity. Through their commitment to enhancing maternal health and the sacred journey of childbirth, Black doulas exemplify the amalgamation of tradition, compassion, and resilience, enriching the tapestry of cultural practices surrounding childbirth. 

As we continue to champion equitable birthing outcomes in the United States, doulas remain at the forefront of efforts to eliminate racial disparities in maternal health and promote reproductive justice. Thanks to the advocacy of dedicated birth workers, including those within the AAIMM Doula Program, doula services were added as a covered Medi-Cal benefit in 2023 by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). 

 

Learn more about AAIMM’s Doula Program HERE

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF FATHERS

 

Fathers who are actively engaged during the pregnancy journey, offering steadfast emotional nourishment, support and protection, foster positive birth outcomes. Historically, the involvement of Black fathers transcended the birthing moment, encompassing the entire gestational period, during which fathers participated in rituals, ceremonies, and discussions focused on the well-being of the mother and the unborn child. This comprehensive approach to fatherhood cultivated a sense of unity and communal responsibility. 

In the U.S., Black fathers have maintained this responsibility, being anchors of support to their children and families often in the face of discrimination and widespread negative stereotypes. AAIMM recognizes, embraces, and celebrates Black fathers as catalysts for building strong communities and healthy families. AAIMM has created space through our Fatherhood Program for Black dads to build relationships in brotherhood while accessing the tools they need to prepare for their integral role in the family.  

 

Learn more about AAIMM’s Fatherhood Program HERE

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY

 

In many African societies, community is not merely a physical space but a dynamic and interconnected network where individuals collaborate, celebrate, and navigate life's challenges together. This communal ethos is deeply rooted in the principle of Ubuntu (meaning “humanity” in Bantu), emphasizing the interdependence of individuals within the community, epitomized by the saying, "I am because we are."

Black American culture embraced Ubuntu in the way that communities were built and thrived through collective resolve. One example was historic Black Wall Street in the early 20th century in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This section of North Tulsa—at the time an affluent oil town—comprised a prosperous Black community. Mrs. Viola "Mother" Fletcher, author of Don't Let Them Bury My Story: The Oldest Living Survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre in Her Own Words, who recently visited Los Angeles, reflected on the community and the destruction it endured due to racism. 

Despite centuries of adversity, the beauty of our Black history is our ability to continually showcase our resilience, solidarity, and strength as a people when we present a unified front. The strength of our community shows through grassroots organizing, collective activism and advocacy, and the support networks we have built to champion equality.  

AAIMM’s Community Action Teams share this legacy throughout Los Angeles County, bathing our communities with the joy of knowing that we are not alone in this journey. We are in this together. 

 

 

Get involved with AAIMM’s Community Action Teams HERE

 

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February 2022

In this issue:

Black History Month and Other Events.

 

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June 19, 2020

In this issue: Juneteenth Celebrations

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April 11, 2020

In this issue: Black Maternal Health Week Virtual Events schedule and information.

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March 26, 2020

In this issue: Black Maternal Health Week, COVID-19 guidance related to pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, Community Action Teams and Doulas!

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